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Pursuing Justice in the Shadows of the Virtual: Online Gathering Spaces and Socio-Legal Research Methodology

Sara Ross, PhD candidate, Osgoode Hall Law School

Published April 19, 2018 by Technologies of Justice.

Sara Ross hosted a panel titled Pursuing Justice in the Shadows of the Virtual, which explores justice in online gathering spaces, during the  Technologies of Justice Conference session Ways of Doing and Knowing Law. The session took place on January 26, 2018, at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.



Ross discussed communities and networks online and cultural and community settings in virtual and physical affinity spaces. She pointed out the virtual actions and correlating physical effects that can happen when online communities take action. She explained the concept of affinity spaces, and how because they are often social and community spaces their nature can be somewhat unregulated and unlicensed. She explained her study on building code vigilantism and the 'Forced Code Exposure' takedown of affinity spaces within communities. She highlighted the use of virtual and physical affinity spaces as research sites or community respite, and pointed out how vigilantism is often used to take down a space that does not align with someone's political or religious views, rather than employed as a true safety measure. She explained the need to recognize and allow for such places in terms of research, and providing citation and access in terms of virtual affinity spaces.